BA (Hons) Graphic Communication

96% of our students were satisfied with their courseNational Student Survey 2020

The role of designers has changed enormously. They design change, help people understand and solve problems, and improve the lives of others. Design is as much about what we feel and how we live, as it is about what we see. Our Graphic Communications course is bold, exploring emerging and future communication practices. Developed in consultation with industry, it offers specialist pathways in graphic design, branding and experience design. You’ll be encouraged to experiment with new technologies, learn how to work with the public, clients and others to understand the problems they face and develop effective solutions. You may help a school encourage children to eat healthily, work with a city to improve the wellbeing of its citizens, or help a company communicate with new audiences.

A core element of this Graphic Communications degree is research through practice – you’ll develop essential skills and you’ll work with organisations and employers to help them improve the way they work. You’ll also work with other students on most of your projects. This collaborative approach develops your ability to work in and lead teams, to act and learn independently, preparing you to take up graduate positions or establish your own design practice. Follow USW Graphic Communication on Instagram and Twitter.

2020/21 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
W212 Full-time 3 Years September Cardiff (ATRiuM) B
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
W212 Full-time 3 Years September Cardiff (ATRiuM) B

This course has a philosophy that sees designers as key agents for change that improves lives. A core element is research through practice – you’ll develop essential skills and you’ll work with organisations and employers to help them improve the way they work.

You’ll work with other students on most of your projects. This collaborative approach develops your ability to work in and to lead teams, to act and learn independently, preparing you to take up graduate positions or establish your own design practice.

Year One: Graphic Communication degree

Your first year on the Graphic Communications course will explore what is communication design in the 21st century? How is design practice changing? And how can designers affect people and the world around them?


  • Visualisation for Communication
  • Design Thinking in Practice
  • Design Research Methods
  • User Experience Design
  • Change by Design
  • Strategic Branding in the 21st century

Year Two: Graphic Communication degree

In year two, students will investigate the potential of the latest technology to transform design. You’ll deepen your specialist knowledge in a chosen eld such as branding, experience design or graphic design, and link up with an external organisation to help them use design to understand a challenge they face.


  • Data Stories and Infographics
  • Design Lab
  • Design Challenge
  • Specialist Module 1
  • Specialist Module 2
  • Design Safari

Year Three: Graphic Communication degree

Your final year prepares you to practise as a designer in a range of situations, and to thrive in a global community by using design to understand international culture. You’ll carry out an investigation to show potential employers and clients your ability to answer a key challenge they face.


  • Bootcamp
  • Research Project 1 (Practical)
  • Global Design Cultures
  • Research Project (Investigation)
  • Design Futures


Our Graphics design course offers a simulating, creative environment, with dedicated studios, industry standard Macintosh software and experienced staff. You will be taught by our experienced tutor-designers.

The emphasis is hands-on studio-based work, reinforced by lectures, seminars and studio workshops.


Your work is assessed entirely through the submission of coursework, with the majority (80%) through a practical portfolio of work. The remaining elements integrate practice and theory through written and other forms. You will be encouraged to discuss your work critically with staff, leading designers and other students, through individual and group critiques in a supportive studio environment.


At USW Cardiff, you’ll find specialist studios that have a range of spaces for teaching and learning, including open plan teaching space and informal networking areas.

Our studios are designed to emulate the types of spaces you could work in as a designer. They have been carefully constructed so you benefit from your learning experience as much as possible. For example, there’s a range of learning spaces within each studio, including comfy seating, as well as desk and IT spaces. On each floor of the enhanced USW Cardiff, there’s an open creative space that’s designed to extend your learning experience beyond the classroom and foster collaboration with students from other disciplines.

You’ll be taught by our experienced tutors, with an emphasis on practical, studio-based work. Our computers are currently equipped with software that includes FinalCut Pro, Adobe After Effects, Maya, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, DreamWeaver and Flash.


The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.

Interview: An interview and portfolio are required for this course. Your portfolio should demonstrate strong artistic and design abilities. Your portfolio should be a carefully constructed selection of your work, preferably produced during your most recent course of study, and can include any personal work or projects that you feel are relevant to the course. All work should be well organised and presented.You should be prepared to discuss your work at interview as well as any designers, animators and/or artists who have influenced you.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD to include a relevant art and design subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level with a relevant art and design subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.

August 2020 - July 2021 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £13200 

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) £250
Materials, per year
Field Trips £900 - £1200
Field trip to international destination
Other: Printing & Exhibition Costs * £150 - £300
£150 (Year 1 & 2), £300 (Year 3)
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) £400 - £1600

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Admissions statement

With our experienced tutor-designers, our aim is to help you become a creative, skilled, well-rounded and knowledgeable individual, who is capable of developing and advancing in industry.

Our graduates work at the highest level in the design industry and consultancies throughout the UK and overseas, with some choosing to set up their own consultancies. This has provided us with a wealth of hands-on work experience and even job opportunities for graduates.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.